Fiona McMahon

Michael Heller, 'The Chronicle Poet'

“Writing is figured here as a painstakingly physical yet frail endeavor, its repeated efforts sometimes fruitless: ‘pulling syllables clean, like freeing / old nails from plaster.’” Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The poetry of Michael Heller appears deeply sensitive to the achievements identified with the poet Charles Reznikoff, a mentor for Heller who brought to the textual horizon of the twentieth century an unprecedented form of testimonial poetics. The dualism Reznikoff breathed into verse poised between narrative and song grew from the condition of a poet who sought to reconcile poetic discourse and the records of historical and judicial import to which he persistently turned over the course of his life. 

 There are no sagas — only trees now, animals, engines: There’s that.  — William Carlos Williams

To write poems is not enough if they do not keep the life that has gone. — Louis Zukofsky

Syndicate content